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National Science Foundation

FYI covers NSF’s major research and facilities programs, with a special focus on the Math and Physical Sciences Directorate. FYI also covers the foundation’s general policy, strategy, and administration, as well as activities of the National Science Board.

The U.S. is sunsetting research collaborations with Russia in response to its war against Ukraine, joining a coalition of countries that have already moved to restrict ties with research institutions affiliated with the Russian government.

The National Science Foundation is seeking to seed innovation ecosystems across the U.S. through regional “Engines” that fund partnerships between diverse groupings of organizations. The program is a major new component of the agency’s focus on expanding the “geography of innovation.”

Congress increased the National Science Foundation’s budget by 4% to $8.8 billion for fiscal year 2022, undershooting the ambitious targets proposed by the Biden administration and pending landmark legislation. The administration is now again seeking to surge NSF’s budget past $10 billion to build out its newest directorate and to expand climate change research and STEM workforce diversity initiatives.

The National Academies has released its first-ever decadal survey on the ‘physics of living systems,’ which recommends coordinating fragmented funding sources and education programs to help biological physics cohere as its own branch of the physical sciences.

The National Science Foundation has created its first new directorate in 30 years to expand support for “use-inspired” research and technology development, though its exact scope is still under debate in Congress.

The Department of Justice is setting a higher bar for criminal prosecutions of academic scientists as part of a pivot away from its controversial “China Initiative,” while maintaining a high priority on countering malign activity by the Chinese government.

The House passed the America COMPETES Act of 2022 today on a nearly party-line vote that foreshadows challenges the House and Senate may face in crafting a compromise bill capable of passing both chambers.

The House has revealed its response to the landmark innovation policy package the Senate passed last year, a major step toward negotiating a compromise version. However, there are a host of thorny policy disagreements yet to be resolved.

The Justice Department is continuing to backtrack in bringing cases against academic researchers for allegedly concealing ties to Chinese entities. Meanwhile, surveys suggest that efforts by the department and science agencies to crack down on disclosure policy violations have led to widespread anxiety among researchers.

Aside from its highest-profile recommendations, the latest astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey recommends priorities for small and mid-scale projects, with a particular emphasis on time-domain and multi-messenger astronomy. It also calls for increased spending on technology development.